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On the Fight Against Hubert Vo in Texas: Call off the Dogs

by Greg Moses Thursday, Jan. 27, 2005 at 3:54 PM
gmosesx@prodigy.net

Republican lawyers need better things to do than chase down Houston voters and put their names on the internet.

After two months of investigation, knocking on 170 doors, serving folks with orders to divulge their votes, swearing them to oath under penalty of law, and chewing over everything with the finest teeth that money can buy, the ousted opponent of newly elected Texas State Representative Hubert Vo now claims loudly to have “irrefutable proof” that Vo actually lost the election by “at least five votes.”

The conclusion is announced with fanfare and jubilation, because if it stands the test of a legislative hearing, it will unseat an immigrant legislator in Texas who represents for the first time in more then 30 years an actual increase of Democrats in the statehouse.

Never mind Vo’s detailed reading of the same evidence, showing once again that he won the election by some 30 votes. What’s sad about the contest that heads into hearing Thursday morning is that so many voters have been put through so much for so little result. Even the opposition camp admits that their best-case evidence fails to support claims of “widespread fraud” that they were slinging last month.

Instead of grand voter theft, the Republican strike team presents us with a tawdry series of common error and low-level cheating worthy of a robust election among free peoples. Nearly half of ballots alleged to be illegal involve 154 folks who registered one place but moved to another. That’s 154 folks out of 41,000 who might have gone back to their old neighborhoods to vote.

“Thus, a dark and troubling cloud looms over the purported outcome of this race because of the enormous number of illegal ballots which were cast and counted,” complains the First Amended Petition. True enough, people should vote where they live, but if they do go back to their old neighborhoods to vote, what kind of cloud do they drag with them? Is this behavior so scandalous as to draw down the scrutiny of an entire legislative investigation, knocking on doors, and taking names?

“Because the margin of difference between the two candidates is only .04%,” argues the defeated Republican, “even the slightest irregularity in voting has the potential for reversing the outcome.” But, on the other hand, we’d like to know, how did the election get to be so close, with a 22-year incumbent running in a district that had been drawn up under his watch?

Inflated concern over the tiniest irregularities cannot distract from the embarrassment of political errors that must have brought the challenger to this place, where in order to extend a political career by two years he should be making a historical record out of the names of American voters who failed to update their registrations, placing into public view on the internet not only who they are but how they voted.

I am tempted at this point to exaggerate the scandal of this contest by publishing in this paragraph the names of folks who crossed back into old neighborhoods to vote straight ticket Republican. But their names are already too easy to find. It would be better I think to simply call off the dogs, cancel the hearing, and get on with the job of making better laws. Okay, so we have attack-dog lawyers in Texas. Can’t the Republicans find them something better to do?

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